Nothing But the Truth (2008)

Don't Reveal the Source

Blu-ray, 1h 48min
Rating: 7.2
Votes: 34954
Languages: English
Country: USA
Director: Rod Lurie
Writer: Rod Lurie
Music: Larry Groupé

Plot outline

In Washington, D.C., a female reporter faces a possible jail sentence for outing a CIA agent and refusing to reveal her source.

Personal notes



In Washington, D.C., a female reporter faces a possible jail sentence for outing a CIA agent and refusing to reveal her source. - Anonymous

Thinking Pulitzer Prize and hoping to bring down a President, D.C. political columnist Rachel Armstrong writes that the President ignored the findings of a covert CIA operative when ordering air strikes against Venezuela. Rachel names the agent, Erica Van Doren, a woman whose young daughter is in Rachel's son's class at school. The government moves quickly to force Rachel to name her source. She's jailed for contempt when she refuses. She won't change her mind, and the days add up. Chaos descends on Van Doren's life as well. First Amendment versus national security, marriage and motherhood versus separation. What's the value of a principle?

Rachel Armstrong is trying to balance her life as wife to novelist Ray Armstrong and "soccer mom" to adolescent Timmy Armstrong against the want to advance her career as an investigative journalist at the national news desk of the Capital Sun-Times newspaper. Her name within the profession may become more renowned when her editor, Bonnie Benjamin, decides to print the latest explosive story on which she has been working and for which many predict she will win a Pulitzer Prize. The story is that Erica Van Doren, the wife of Ambassador Oscar Van Doren who has been critical of the current administration, is a covert CIA operative who investigated and found conclusive evidence that the Venezuelan government was not responsible for a recent assassination attempt on US President Lyman. Erica's report was ignored by the White House, the US government which proceeded to bomb strategic Venezuelan sites in retaliation. Beyond exposing Erica's role, the story is not meant to be critical of her or Ambassador Van Doren per se but rather the White House for their inappropriate and potentially illegal behavior, which the newspaper sees as being in the same league as something like Watergate. The coincidental part of the story is that the Van Dorens' daughter Alison Van Doren is Timmy's classmate, although Rachel doesn't know the Van Doren parents personally and has only seen fellow soccer mom Erica in the past from afar in their respective volunteer work at the school. Although he OKs proceeding with the story, what makes the newspaper's chief counsel Avril Aaronson nervous is that Rachel has not divulged to him or anyone else at the newspaper her primary source, although Rachel, Bonnie and her staff have verified the story through secondary sources. The issue is is that it is considered treasonous for government officials to have provided Rachel this type of information, and thus the story could be problematic if Rachel's primary source is someone in the White House or within the CIA which is most likely the case. Although the story is meant to focus on the White House's actions and behaviors, it instead results in the two women in the center being the targets. Many of Erica's colleagues believe she knows who leaked the story to Rachel, she herself being under suspicion to support the views of her husband. The government, through the FBI which hires special prosecutor Patton Dubois, is determined for Rachel to reveal her source as a measure of national security, there being precedent in a 1972 case which ruled that national security trumps Rachel's First Amendment right to protect her source. The newspaper in turn hires high powered lawyer Albert Burnside to fight Rachel's case in front of a grand jury against Dubois. Rachel, who is as determined to keep her source a secret beyond the First Amendment issue as Dubois is as determined for her to reveal the source, may not be prepared for the consequences, which could be jail time for contempt for as long as she decides to hold out. - Huggo